Walker discusses UW-System affordability, Confluence Project at UW-Eau Claire visit

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Wisconsin's governor says he's committed to making sure more students and families can afford a UW-System education.

Gov. Scott Walker met with students at UW-Eau Claire Wednesday morning. He called the visit a great opportunity to highlight his commitment to making a two-year tuition freeze, and "continuing that into the next term."

"We think, for students and for working families, many of whom are supporting students across the state, it's critically important that after a decade of five-and-a-half-percent increases, that we freeze tuition to make college more affordable," Walker said.

The governor also re-iterated his support for the proposed Confluence Project.

"We think it's a good public/private partnership," he said. "A partnership not only withe the public, but at the local and at the state level. It's something we're looking at including as part of the non-state funds portion of the capital budget."

On Tuesday night, the Eau Claire City Council confirmed its support for the non-profit organization Eau Claire Confluence Inc., which would own the performing arts center. The grant writer said Tuesday that he is on track to meet the Friday deadline to apply for a non-state agency grant. Supporters of the project hope it will provide $25,000,000 in funding for it. Eau Claire's city manager says the earliest the new Eau Claire Confluence Inc. non-profit would find out if it would receive money through the grant would be February.

Critics, such as One Wisconsin Now, are blasting Governor Walker's campus tour. They claim he hiked tuition in his first budget, flat-lined financial aid, and let legislation that would have helped current student borrowers refinance their loans die.

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